Robin Gibb, singer and musician with The Bee Gees, has been diagnosed with liver cancer.
The 61-year-old star, who has cut an increasingly frail figure during recent public appearances, was diagnosed several months ago, friends say.
He was taken to hospital last week after his family made a 999 call but later returned to his home in Thame, Oxfordshire, where his family have gathered.
"Robin is not good and there is a lot of concern for him. There will be difficult times ahead but Robin will never give up and his loving family will make sure he has everything he needs", said a family friend.
"There is frustration because Robin has always looked after himself. He doesn’t drink, eats well and exercises daily.
"But Robin is a strong character, he is a fighter and has been encouraged by all the online messages from his fans."
Dwina Murphy-Gibb, the star’s wife of 26 years and a druid priestess, is said to be enquiring about alternative therapies to assist her husband’s treatment.
The family has suffered a number of tragedies. Andy Gibb, the youngest of the four brothers and a succesful solo artist, died in 1988 from a heart attack. He was 30 and his death came after years of drug abuse.
Robin's twin brother Maurice died in 2003 from complications following an operation to correct an intestinal blockage. A week after his funeral, Robin and Barry announced that the Bee Gees would disband.
In his interview for the Sky Arts series Living The Life, recorded earlier this year and broadcast tonight, Gibb said that Maurice’s death was "something I haven’t accepted still. He was a relatively young man and he just went all of a sudden."